A college scholarship is a monetary award based on criteria given by the awarding party. It can be given based on academic merit, athletic ability, financial need, or other criteria specific to the group giving the award. Educational grants and scholarships are the best kind of financial aid, for one simple reason: it’s free money. To make your college scholarship search a little easier, the African American Sub Commission is providing scholarship search links below.

Scholarships for African American Students …. More scholarships

What is a scholarship?

Scholarships are funds used to pay for higher education that do not have to be repaid to the provider. Scholarships may be awarded based on any number of criteria including academics, achievements, hobbies, and talents, affiliations with various groups or career aspirations. They are available from federal and state governments, large corporations, foundations, local businesses, professional organizations, universities and individuals and each has its own requirements applicants must adhere to in order to be eligible for the award.

How is a scholarship different from a grant?

Scholarships and Grants are both free money that you never have to repay but, in most cases, scholarships are awarded to students who are planning to attend or are already enrolled in some form of postsecondary education. Awardees are often required to maintain specific grade point averages, participate in certain activities or take a certain number of credits per semester to remain eligible for the scholarships; failure to adhere to these guidelines could result in suspension or cancellation of the funding. Grant recipients, however, do not necessarily have to be attending or planning on attending college: They often need the funds to finance research projects (recipients are expected to create proposals and update the donors regularly to maintain funding) or, if they are entrepreneurs or victims of natural disasters, require capital to help start or rebuild their lives.

How is a scholarship different from a fellowship?

Like scholarships, fellowships are considered gift aid and do not have to be repaid but they are typically only available for graduate students to help support their education. Some fellowships include tuition waivers or payments to universities in lieu of tuition but most include a stipend to cover reasonable living expenses.

How do scholarships differ from loans?

The main difference between scholarships and loans is that while scholarships do not require repayment, loans do…with interest. Loans are awarded federally (Stafford, Perkins and PLUS) as well as privately (through banks and other lenders like Sallie Mae) and can be either subsidized (no payments must be made while in school) or unsubsidized (payments must be made while in school).

Will winning a scholarship impact my financial aid package?

It may. The government takes student awards into consideration when offering aid. However, students should not be deterred by this. Many schools use student money to offset loan eligibility, not grant awards. Students who receive little aid can benefit greatly from scholarships.

If I am not eligible for financial aid, can I still receive a scholarship?

Yes, there are plenty of scholarships that are not based on financial need. Play to your strengths: If you have a high GPA, apply for academic scholarships, if you are a great writer, apply for essay and poetry scholarships, if you are creative, apply for art and design scholarships…the list goes on and on. You could have your entire tuition covered by scholarships if you do your due diligence, which means you will graduate with zero student loan debt.

Why should I apply for scholarships?

A scholarship is free money for college, money you do not have to worry about paying back so you can spend more time on your classes. You are being awarded money for something you are already good at – your grades, athleticism, creative ability, or tech savvy – so take advantage of it? Many students do not want to apply for scholarships because they do not think they stand a chance of winning but, applying for scholarships that match your specific criteria increases the odds of receiving a scholarship award exponentially.